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Towards an understanding of interdisciplinarity: The case of a British university


Razzaq, J and Pisapia, J and Townsend, T, Towards an understanding of interdisciplinarity: The case of a British university, Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies, 31 pp. 149-173. ISSN 1081-4760 (2013) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2013 Association for Interdisciplinary Studies

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This study explores what academics in one major university in Great Britain (The Great Western University') perceive interdisciplinary research (!DR) to be, and in doing so, differentiates it from associated concepts, such as multidisciplinary research and transdisciplinary research, found in the research literature. This study is important because the university in which the study is set has nndertaken a complete restmcturing of colleges and departments to support interdisciplinary research. The inquiry utilized a two-phased, mixed methods, descriptive case study to examine perceptions of the nature, significance, and benefits of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The methods of the data collection were semi-stuctured interview (25 participants), survey (127 participants), and analysis of archival documents. The findings indicate that the restructuring of The Great Western University to support interdisciplinary research began on less than firm footing. While scholars seem to have clarified the definitions of interdisciplinary approaches, in practice there still is a lack of clarity in sectors which are less familiar with interdisciplinary approaches to solving major problems facing society. We identified issues of clarity of terminology and mission, flexibility of implementation, and alignment of faculty incentives as involving necessary but unmet conditions for fostering and promoting interdisciplinarity throughout the university.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary research, cross-disciplinary research, transdisciplinary research, multidisciplinary research, clarity, flexibility, alignment
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Townsend, T (Professor Tony Townsend)
ID Code:94589
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2014-09-12
Last Modified:2017-11-21

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